Freshman year of college, my friend and I made a pact- we were two wide eyed American girls that had just set foot on Italian soil for the first time and we had one thing on our mind. No it wasn’t food, sight seeing or shopping; we were on the prowl for men and desperate to break down this la dolce vita mystique once and for all.

The Latin lover has always held his role in the female mind: tanned, toned and oozing sex, we couldn’t wait to undress him and bed him. All around us, tight-shirt wearing Italian men were spilling out come ons in a foreign tongue we couldn’t make out besides the eroticism of the accent. Whatever words spilled out of their mouth, we found ourselves enchanted and enthralled by the possibility of the delights these Italian men had to offer.Would they be as easy to conquer as they were on the eyes?

Seven hours into our first day and we already had dates secured for that night. We didn’t understand a word of what they were saying but one thing was clear: we all had the same thing in mind. They drove us to their house on the back of their motorinos and it was there that the foreplay began. Gloved hands made their way up our legs, their fingers traveling in between our thighs. The tension continued to build until we arrived at a nondescript apartment building and made our way up a windy set of stairs. Splitting into separate rooms, the mad dash of stripping off our clothes began, with his tight fitting jeans taking much more work than mine. In a minute, it was over. A whole lot of build up for a quick exchange of bodily fluids-I was now infused with Italian olive oil and he was grinning from ear to ear to like Uncle Sam.

Other men had to be better. And so I didn’t stop at Paolo #1, or Paolo #2 and continued on till I’d reached Marco #7. Once my friend and I had made our way through the different crowds in Rome, why stop at one city? Train tickets were dirt-cheap and though we may have been traveling more as cattle than classy dames, we can wholeheartedly say we made the most of our time and dime. Affair after tryst found me becoming braver and holding fewer restraints. I set my eyes abroad and booked my first weekend getaway to the site of Constantinople or Istanbul, Turkey. As I took my first two steps on Turkish soil, my eyes immediately admired my future conquests. Tall, dark and handsome, darker than the Italians in the eyes and in their slicked black hair; I was enamored. I wandered through the city, asking every good-looking man I stumbled upon his recommendations for dining and nightlife and in the process, secured a few phone numbers. For the four nights I was there, I made my way through seven dates with seven very different men and in the process, learned more about the city than any guidebook could have ever provided.

Weekends soon found me traveling through the continent, scouring not guidebooks but international equivalents of Yelp and Trip Advisor. I wasn’t interested in the five star hotels nor the hostels favored by American youth, but rather, the dingy, poorly lit pensione or rooms with a bed where the international clientele stayed.

Each country’s offering seemed to improve until I landed in Paris. Paris the city of love; who could have ever said such a thing? I propositioned a scruffy French lad in the pharmacy who was picking up condoms and wound up on the back of his motorcycle, zooming back to his place. French men were all about rendez-vous’ and no strings attached love affairs, or so I had once believed. Instead, between the sheets he wanted to cuddle and desperately wanted to know when we could meet again. I refused to leave my cellphone number and instead, left a photo of myself in nothing at all on his phone. As I exited his la boheme back into the French daylight and haze of winding streets, I smiled a Carrie Bradshaw smile of success. I would be the girl that left the French man hanging. The next day however, I wondered if perhaps giving him the slip was exactly what had egged him on. He’d left two phone messages at my hostel and even sent flowers. Sacre bleu indeed.

After a while, I felt like I could compile my own guide book on how to travel and it wouldn’t involve any museum recommendations or syllable sounded phrases. Instead, it would reiterate the idea of immersing one’s self in the new culture, and above all, being open to anything that may come your way. It didn’t matter that I didn’t speak their mother tongue, ours was a language of the heart, words replaced by gestures, groans and caresses.

Cuisines, shopping details and the local sites no longer mattered. Instead, I evaluated the countries I visited by their erm, more formidable details, such as measurements below the belt. I’d read that Asians were given the lowest penile length in the world, but why take a book’s fact as verbatim when you can explore the fact for yourself!

My rankings finished something like this- Arabs truly hold the goods, Germans ain’t so bad but France and Italy are given way more credit (in terms of both length and skill) than they deserve. What was the difference between making love and fucking anyways? The Italians may have lit candles and known to blow on your nipples after sucking on them but they weren’t much better in anything below the belt on woman than anyone else. Sure, screwing a German may be a bit like fucking a horny frat boy, but at least they had the size that made it all worthwhile!

Returning back on home soil four years after my initial departure was no easy feat. Everyone seemed so dull or was it just because they were familiar and spoke the same language? Had boring turned into shared backgrounds and tastes, forcing me to finally return to the girl I was?

Whatever it was, the transitional period was no easy feat, but I’m proud to say, years out, I’m dating an American born, bred and familiar type of guy and am finding that even if you’ve known a country your whole life, there still remains a great deal of things in life that can continue to surprise you (in bed!) and so forth.

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Taryn Kelley has done her fair of living in a medley of locales but she feels no more at home than with the crisp pages of a worn book in hand. Owner of too many dogs and horses to count, she's been documenting her travels in and out of the saddle for as long as she recall (interpret that how you'd like!) She greatly believes in the adage that "well behaved women rarely make history," nor do they live a life worth living!